The Sound of Music

Just a few days ago, the air temperature was crisp and damp and the winds continued to howl a gale. It did not feel at all like the promised turn of the season. While I may be disappointed, the Jackdaws couldn’t care less. They are busy, busy, busy gathering twigs to build their rather untidy nests in every corner of the barn roof or available chimney pot they can find.

I like the Jackdaws with their raucous calls and high-pitched yelps. They are not overly musical, but seem to enjoy making music and conversation as they go about their business.

It is not dissimilar to our own style of music and conversation during projects. Roger walks through a room, singing a random song. About 30 minutes later, I am wondering “Why am I singing this hit from the 1970s?” I maddingly embrace this earworm; carry on with this implanted song in my head, only to have Roger pass by with yet another tune. We will often sing songs relevant to our current circumstances. “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO is always a favourite when the sun is shining and we are working outside.

The front door of the Jackdaw's nest in the barn (this roof is a future project).

The front door of the Jackdaw’s nest in the barn (this roof is a future project).

Messy nest.

Messy nest.

A Jackdaw getting ready to put in some decorative touches to its nest.

A Jackdaw getting ready to put in some decorative touches to its nest.

Our own renovation project is in its home stretch, moving from a messy Jackdaw’s nest to something we can soon enjoy and reveal. Still, we have a few more things to complete and rather than do them, we’ve embraced yet another distraction: we’ve rescued a piano.

When I moved to the UK, I left my piano in the USA with a friend. Moving it across the ocean was not an option at the time. Her children have taken lessons on it and it continues to be played, so that makes me happy. And yet, I’ve missed not having a piano.

I’m not a great player. I can read music and figure out some challenging musical pieces, but I’ve never been great at memorizing; nor, have I enjoyed performing for others. I’m a Jackdaw and not a Robin when it comes to my musicality. Happy to just make a racket and have a great time.

So, I found a piano.  There was a house clearance and it needed a home, our home perhaps? We went to look it over, struck an agreement with the man getting rid of it and set about making plans for moving this hulking musical instrument. We next secured a moving van and a few friends to help. Five of us – all in our 50’s with dodgy backs, sore shoulders, and any number of conditions that you’d think would have made me hire professionals – showed up and moved the piano.

Taking small steps, periodic lifts and regular pauses, we got the piano out of the house where it had sat comfortably for over fifty years. Making use of its little wheels on the flat, we inched it toward the van. Heave! Ho! And up into the van! Thirty minutes after it was secured in the back of the van, we were then faced with off loading it and getting it into our house.

“It must have a cast iron frame!” Roger offered as explanation of the hard work of everyone. This piano is heavy. It may be an upright, but it only just fitted through our very narrow front porch with a rather tricky tight turn. And, yes, I measured it before hand.  Having done so provided me a margin of confidence, a very tiny margin.

The piano is in place.

The piano is in place.

The piano is now in place. It needs a little TLC, so a piano tuner and restorer has been called. Sitting at the piano, I can’t read the music without my glasses, which is a new development since last I played.   But, the view from the piano stool, down the valley, allows for playing music while watching the birds weave their flight paths over the bright yellow gorse.

Of course, the piano will need to be moved again as the corner I have selected has blown plaster which needs repairing; and, the walls in this part of the house haven’t been painted yet. These projects are on next year’s list.

For now, I can rifle through my piano music and accompany the Jackdaws as we all get about our noisy, chaotic, music making.


19 comments on “The Sound of Music

  1. Lovely post Catherine, enjoy your jackdaw piano. xx

  2. kiwiskan says:

    We once discovered a great way to move a piano – skateboards do a great job…

  3. Cunning strategy! Alas, our floors are granite stone and very bumpy. It was a lift and carry operation only.

  4. What a gorgeous piano.. can you take a shot of the view down the valley? that you see when you play? c

  5. Ann Dawney says:

    A lovely acquisition, beautifully told! We have been adopted by a pair of crows, and they are very amusing, although Iprefer them at a distiance!

    See you soon now! Will Roger and Sam come too, or will they be Crockern-minding?

  6. I really enjoy reading your posts, they are so well written and paint a clear picture for the reader. I now have an image of walkers passing your home, to a serenade of piano music adding an extra bounce to their step 🙂

    • Thank you for those lovely comments. I’m not certain my rusty piano playing skills will put a bounce in anyone’s step….unless you’re talking about some stuttering steps, trips here and there, and generally inconsistent rhythm. Hey ho.

  7. jllevitan says:

    I remember hearing you talk about your piano teacher when you lived in Hoboken. How lovely that you are taking up the piano again. We inherited my parent’s piano. I took lessons as a kid but didn’t practice and could never learn to sight read. I signed up for lessons a few years ago, sadly with the same result – I did not make time to practice and could not learn to sight read. I am hoping to make another stab when we retire. Wishing you much pleasure playing your new piano. I continue to enjoy your blog posts. It’s almost like visiting.

    • Yes, once I get it all tuned and back into better shape, I will play my old familiar tunes and begin the search to find a teacher again. Keeps you honest about practicing and helps to also stretch a bit to try pieces I wouldn’t otherwise touch. Yes, Danyal was an excellent teacher (you should look him up when you decide to take lessons again!).

  8. Chris Brown says:

    Tinkle those Ivories! Looking forward to hearing you play sometime.

  9. RobP says:

    That piano looks very old. With regard to the inability to see things close up, it seems to afflict everybody as they get older. I’m normally short sighted but over the last year or so, I have been finding it easier to read by peering under the rim of my glasses! I Had naively thought that this trait would cure my shortsightedness, but alas, it does ‘t quite work like that! 🙂

  10. hilary says:

    Thomas and I are thinking that he may need to bring his cello next time we visit so you guys can try out a duet or two!

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